Saturday, December 4, 2010

Kindness That Can Kill

Rush finally explicitly reveals themselves to be the sell out, pseudo-intellectual, integrity-less losers they've always been. Apparently their current tour is is partially a charity event. Behold:
To benefit the relief efforts in Haiti, one dollar of each ticket sold will be donated through several charities including “Doctors Without Borders.” Rush will also contribute a portion of their proceeds at the culmination of the tour.
So much for choosing a path that's clear in which the misfortune of others places no moral claim on the individual. So long to the ethical egoism of 2112. Good to see they're now ready to force their fans to give to the relief effort in Hati.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fans don't have to buy tickets. They are not forced to do anything.

Spiros said...

The band could have made the "donation" voluntary. But they didn't. So whereas they do not force anyone to buy a ticket, they force those fans who buy tickets to support the charities the band has chosen. So some fans are forced to do something. Hypocrites.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Helping the displaced Haitians with food, shelter, and medical treatment is surely going to hurt them in the long run.

729 said...

Not only are they hypocrites, Spiros, but pathetically cheesy hypocrites. $1.00 per ticket? Really? The show tickets range from 30-something to around 70 dollars. If you're gonna "sell out," build a whole freakin' Rush Memorial Hospital or two. Do it right.

Anonymous said...

"So some fans are forced to do something."

Sure, and by that logic, fans who want to see them live are forced to pay money, forcing fans to do something most would rather not do (assuming that, given the choice, they'd rather see the band for free). They are also forced to visit certain cities if they want to see the band live, which the fans may not want to otherwise visit. How dare Rush "force" their fans to do things like spend money and drive to cities for concerts!

This is all just silly.

Spiros said...

11:12,

No. You've missed the point once again. They could have made the donation voluntary, but didn't. By contrast, there is no way to sell tickets to a concert and then make the location of the concert up to each ticket holder. So: those who purchase tickets (a voluntary act) are forced to do something it would be possible for them not to do (and yet still buy a concert ticket and attend one). Not silly at all.

This is precisely the kind of thing Rush has made a career railing against. Hypocrites.

Anonymous said...

Is the problem with Rush giving to charity per se? Because that certainly isn't inconsistent with Randian egoism.
So the problem must be with the "forcing" of their fans to give to charity. But I fail to see how this is any more hypocritical than if they were to just take all of the money and then donate it at the end of the tour, without informing their fans. The only difference is that they are letting their fans know, in advance, where some of the money would be going.

(BTW, I'm not Anon 8:28, nor am I a Randian or egoist.)

dissata@gmail.com said...

supposing we are taking the Randian stance and this concert is their business, which it is, it sure would be untenable to say that they don't have a right to do what they want with their own money...

looking at it sideways, however, it would be even more untenable for a consumer to demand what happens to money that they have already spent on something else. The matter of their announcing the charity is superfluous to the concert; I highly doubt people will attend for the sake of the charity nor refuse to attend because of the donation.

Anonymous said...

What's actually happening is that Rush is selling tickets to a concert, and then donating as many dollars as tickets they sell. There's no forcing anyone to do anything. The band is donating the money. They're no more forcing anyone to do anything than I am forcing my students to give to Planned Parenthood because I do and they pay tuition.

Spiros said...

Note the official statement: "One dollar of each ticket sold will be donated through several charities including “Doctors Without Borders.” Rush will also contribute a portion of their proceeds at the culmination of the tour."

This makes a clear distinction between "Rush's proceeds" and the ticket sales. For each ticket sold, one dollar of the price will be donated to the charity. In addition, Rush will make a donation to the charities, too.

Rush is of course free to do whatever they wish with their money. But, to repeat what is crucial, they could have made the donation from the tick sales voluntary, but didn't. That's why the situation is different from using part of your paycheck to donate to Planned Parenthood.

Spiros said...

11:31 writes, "I highly doubt people will attend for the sake of the charity nor refuse to attend because of the donation."

Not relevant to the point. Yet, in any case, just goes to show how shallow and sheepish their fans are.

dissata@gmail.com said...

Spiros, in the original post and in 1:08 you draw a distinction between Rush's profits/money and the money generated from ticket sales that assumes that "ticket sales" are either a) somewhat still the money of those who bought tickets or b) nobodies money. Neither is true.

The money from the ticket sales is managed, controlled and possessed by somebody. If you hold that the price of the ticket is the same for those who would donate the dollar vs. those who wouldn't, then you have no grounds for demanding that the donation not be made. This, as I see it, is because the donation is from the ticket sales price, not in addition to the ticket price.

If they charge an extra dollar and say it was for charity, then your point would stand (such as those optional $1 donation stars I see every once in a while in supermarkets). But since it is not an additional cost, what you are arguing is that whoever controls the money has an obligation to use the money in a way that the purchaser finds suitable.

Indeed, the last point I made was tangential (11:31), but it still indirectly supports my point. If the purchasing of the ticket is not motivated (or deterred) by the charitable donation there is not much point in making it voluntary.

Spiros said...

Dissata:

Thanks for the reply. How would we go about deciding whether the $1 (for donation) is an "extra" cost (imposed on everyone) or not? Say the tickets are $10 each, and $1 goes to charity. It seems then that Rush are willing to perform for $9 a ticket. And when I purchase a ticket, it is to compensate them for performing. So the $1 looks to me like an extra charge.

It should be noted that this post was intended to be a kind of joke. But let me ask a different, I think more serious, question: The statement claims that $1 from the price of each ticket will be donated to "several charities including 'Doctors Without Borders'.” Do you think it objectionable that they do not say what those (other) charities are? Seems so to me.

DevilsAdvocate said...

"But let me ask a different, I think more serious, question: The statement claims that $1 from the price of each ticket will be donated to "several charities including 'Doctors Without Borders'.” Do you think it objectionable that they do not say what those (other) charities are? Seems so to me."

I could be overlooking something obvious here, but I don't see why it would be objectionable. If I go to a coffee shop and buy a coffee, they have no obligation to tell me what the money I am giving them will be spent on. This seems analogous.

Anonymous said...

This might be an excellent example of why so many people don't take philosophy seriously. It's not clear why or how Rush is engaging in hypocrisy. Whether or not the donation is voluntary is a red herring. Fans can choose whether or not to buy tickets. Rush can choose what to do with their take of the money earned from ticket sales. The big wigs controlling ticked sales can control what they do with their share of the earnings. Rush has given people more of a chance of making an informed decision as to whether or not to support Rush in its musical performance AND donation choices. Fans that do not like making charitable donations are free to stay home and listen to the music on their own.

Anonymous said...

"This might be an excellent example of why so many people don't take philosophy seriously."

Because philosophers don't know an obvious joke when they see one?

greetings from the experience machine said...

For reasons I don't want to go into, I read heaps of Rand some years ago. The retorts to Spiros here would be exactly right as defense of, say, Nozick's position. (Nobody is supposed to think that the owner of the basketball team is forcing fans to pay extra to see Wilt.)

But Rand, remember, insists that selfishness is a virtue and altruism is morally corrupt. For a randroid, Rush is indeed selling out.
(Also, like Spiros I don't take this stuff very seriously.)

Anonymous said...

I have a question. 2112 came out fucking 35 years ago. Is it possible that Rush may have rethought a few ethical theses between then and now?

Spiros's 4:07 post seems to suggest that Rush's just wage for performing is the minimum that they would perform for. That seems a terrible standard for just compensation.

Don't screw with Rush. Some of us have a soft spot for them from our youth.

Anonymous said...

Experience Machine is spot on about the diff between Nozick-inspired and Rand-inspired libertarianism. And Spiro's point goes through once the distinction is made. The Rush we knew and loved was opposed to the very idea of charity. Roping fans into charitable giving is a sell out.

It's also a sell out to do 'retro' tours in which the band promises to play 20 year-old albums in full. Progressive my ass.

DevilsAdvocate said...

7:58 and 10:37--
I actually haven't read a lot of Rand, but:
"My views on charity are very simple. I do not consider it a major virtue and, above all, I do not consider it a moral duty. There is nothing wrong in helping other people, if and when they are worthy of the help and you can afford to help them. I regard charity as a marginal issue. What I am fighting is the idea that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue."
from this quote it looks like Rand considers charitable giving to be morally neutral, at least if not done on the false pretense that it is obligatory.

greetings from the experience machine said...

DevilsAd,

Yes, her view is that if an altruistic act furthers one's own interests, it's fine. Altruism is on occasion the proper expression of self-love. Or something like that.

Part of the trick is that after announcing (or I guess deducing from the law of identity?) that egoism is rationally required, Rand reduces the distance between egoism and common sense by adding, "Of course it wouldn't really be in a thief's self-interest to steal a million dollars," and the like. Maybe this is a good defense for Rush, too -- maybe the charity work will be really good for them, or maybe it partly constitutes their good.
The whole approach is so intellectually flaccid. It's not worth close textual analysis, I promise! Spend the time on Aristotle instead.

Anonymous said...

I don't know which is more embarrassing: that philosophers take Randian ethics seriously enough to have an extended, albeit not entirely serious, discussion about it, or that they take Rush seriously enough to have an extended discussion about it.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:27:

I don't think going on at length, even in detail, about the ways in which an ideology, a person, or a group of persons is stupid, implies that you take it/them seriously. Counterfactual: Sarah Palin.

Anonymous said...

It also seems important to note that Rush is a a terribly shitty band. No?

Anonymous said...

See: http://www.adequacy.org/stories/2001.8.22.0219.37804.html

"Many people have unfairly maligned Ayn Rand, the greatest philosopher of the 20th century. This has always confounded me, for no other person has developed such a rational approach to living as she. I believe the underlying reason is that most of her works, like The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, are simply too complex and involved for most people. Thankfully, a group of Canadian musicians took the time during the 80's to distill the complexity of Rand's philosophy into music that we can all understand."

dead horse revived said...

"when I purchase a ticket, it is to compensate them for performing"

Really? When I buy a ticket to a show, it is to see the show. I have no real idea or expectation about what happens to the money: how much goes to the band, to the manager, to the venue, to the coke dealers.

Anonymous said...

This discussion has gotten me so excited for the upcoming Rush and Philosophy.

No, seriously, that is really happening:
http://www.amazon.com/Rush-Philosophy-Popular-Culture/dp/0812697162/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1291699690&sr=8-1

Anonymous said...

Not to interrupt an opportunity to take cheap shots at Rush, but I think Anon 10:20 has it pretty much right. The Rand themes largely disappear from Neil Peart's lyrics after the late 70s. Peart has also in numerous interviews said that he thinks the band really began in their current form with 1980's "Permanent Waves", and that he finds their early work kind of silly and juvenile. If there's anything in the world philosophers should admire, it's reflecting critically on your beliefs and knowing when to move on from them. But please, by all means, keep setting up and knocking down straw men.

Anonymous said...

12:20: Bullshit. All of Moving Pictures is a ridiculous Randian rant. Elevate from the norm, bro.